Where I Think One D&D is Headed.

Hey, Cynthia Williams- Give me a paid gig running D&D in a castle somewhere, and I’ll shut up about your company and delete all the mad smack I’ve ever talked about you. (*LOL!) I mean, I’m at a stage in my life where money is good, too. Just don’t try to pay me in WotC product because, um, I uh hate to tell ya it’s not terribly popular. Seriously, have ya boy Kyle Brink get in touch. Let’s see what we can work out.

I wish Dungeons & Dragons had a bright future ahead of it.

Alas, I think it will get worse before it gets better. I mean, we’ve survived other edition changes. What makes this one different?

It’s simple really. Other than 4th Ed, no one has tried to officially integrate a Virtual TableTop environment into the game. To me, One D&D looks like an attempt to turn D&D into a video game. Straight up.
It’s as if Wizards of the Coast no longer cares about the tabletop market. This latest incarnation of the Druid recently released looks like it came almost straight from World of Warcraft. But they kinda left out Feral for some reason. But, if you played Moonkin or Restoration? It’ll look pretty familiar for the most part. Shoot spells or heal. Those are basically the options presented in the latest Unearthed Arcana “playtest” document.

I think we’ll still get our “nostalgic” content in the form of a physical Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s guide. Then comes the hideous Internet abomination that will be the One D&D virtual site, whatever they end up calling it. Oh, but it uses the Unreal Engine, just like Fortnite.

But Fortnite is a video game. That’s not the same as a TTRPG. Right?

From Fortnite.

I’m going to predict, and this isn’t a conspiracy theory, that the new D&D VTT is going to be indistinguishable from any MMORPG except maybe for the speed at which it moves. Maybe they’ll give us virtual dice to roll, maybe they won’t.

Okay, now I’m putting the tinfoil hat on for a minute.

I’m predicting (again) that WotC will control most or all of their own PDF and ePub sales. I’m predicting their physical copies will slow down dramatically in 2024 and trickle out 1-3 books per year at most afterward. Meanwhile all of their electronic sales will blow up huge on the VTT or at least that’s what they want to have happen.

It’s going to reach a point where there won’t be updates, expansions, or sourcebooks for any physical material. But there will be tons and tons of microtransactions available online. Imagine paying $1.99 for a handful of new monsters complete with their “miniatures” on the VTT? Maybe they’ll throw in a PDF for another $.99 for all the dinosaurs like me that would still be reading stuff. If VP Chris Cao has his way, that’s where it will begin and end.

I think WotC will eventually be incredibly successful with the new VTT (video game) or the thing is going to bomb hideously, costing them millions. I think if the VTT goes to pieces, Hasbro is going to cut their losses. D&D will be reduced to a boxed set, like a board game. If they’re feeling generous, we’ll keep the PHB, MM, and DMG but very little else by way of official content. They may hit a financial hurdle so high the only way to cross it will be to turn everything but the core rules over to the fans and rely on us to create all of our own content.

Truthfully, I think that’s where we’re headed for those of us who want nothing to do with the VTT. There will be the TTRPG crowd. We’ll play in person, at conventions, maybe in Friendly Local Game Stores (if they survive.) Our online games will be on VTT platforms WotC hasn’t run out of town or bought out. We will probably be supporting everything but One D&D. Old School, Pathfinder, and indie games galore will be the order of the day. It’ll look like D&D, but…

Just wait, it gets better.

My best educated guess as to why WotC caved on the Open Game License debacle and surrendered the SRD to CC-BY-4.0 is because they know they have a deal in place to monetize it. My guess? They’ve either bought OneBookShelf entirely or they’re going to move DMsGuild over to their own web platform. Again, my opinion, but it just seems such a logical move for them.

We already know WotC cut a profit sharing deal with Kickstarter during the OGL 1.1 scandal. I seriously doubt anyone has renegotiated the deal since. OGL 1.1 was a signed, done deal for some creators. Not everyone turned it down as far as we know. Because of all the NDAs involved, especially for anyone who signed the bloody contract, we’ll never know for sure what was said.

My other hypothesis is WotC is looking for a way to convert Patreon users to their own platform OR they’re going to cut some kind of royalty deal with the company. When Cynthia Williams said they were going to monetize players? My guess is they are working to monetize anything and everything they can get their grubby little hands on. Hasbro/WotC aren’t stupid, but I’d definitely say greedy. Time will tell if I’m right.

It’s already in the can.

I stand by my statement. WotC already has One D&D ready to go on paper. All this playtest survey stuff? It’s all smoke and mirrors. If anything, they’re taking the feedback to adjust the print version of the game at most. WotC has always been transparent about the fact that the VTT is their main impetus. It’s taking a while to feed all the data into the Unreal Engine and line up as many platforms, apps and even consoles as they can. That’s not fast or easy.

The VTT will likely be ready to roll in 2024. Oh, sure. We’ll get a big, shiny rollout. Much like the announcement of One D&D, we’ll get renowned community figures and “designers” telling us how great this thing is. Those same people are going to keep telling us how great One D&D is right up until they can’t ignore their own dumpster fire.

Hey, Cynthia Williams- Give me a paid gig running D&D in a castle somewhere, and I’ll shut up about your company and delete all the mad smack I’ve ever talked about you. (*LOL!) I mean, I’m at a stage in my life where money is good, too. Just don’t try to pay me in WotC product because, um, I uh hate to tell ya it’s not terribly popular. Seriously, have ya boy Kyle Brink get in touch. Let’s see what we can work out.

I’ll just leave that here.

We all know some of my WotC rants. The end is nigh or something. Truthfully, I dunno where it’s all going to end up for sure. I’m speculating based on what has happened with prior editions. They’re going to do what they’re going to do regardless of what fans say. To an extent, they’ve already done it.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s great having us here as a community. I appreciate it. Remember, we’re all in this together. Maybe back to some TTRPG stuff tomorrow.

“Old White Guys” in Dungeons & Dragons.

A bunch of us tuned into the 3 Black Halflings interview in the wake of the OGL crisis to see what WotC’s pet manure spreader was going to say. It was interesting to hear what Kyle would say when PR wasn’t whispering in his ear or telling him what to type. Wow, it’s obvious WotC execs really are a bunch of clueless twonks who probably should be about as unemployed as yours truly right now. Sht floats to the top at WotC. For real.

D&D Exec Kyle Brink sticks his foot in his mouth. Repeatedly…

Here’s the link to the interview: 3 Black Halflings interview Kyle Brink.

Polygon also did a very good job with this issue: Polygon.

For those who don’t know yet, Wizards of the Coast Executive Producer of Dungeons & Dragons Kyle Brink was the face of the Open Game License debacle. He came on the scene after Wizards’ first failed attempt to address the fans. Kyle was slightly more personable with the fans and has allegedly actually played the game. He’s definitely been coached thoroughly by whatever PR experts WotC/Hasbro hired to contain the damage of thousands of fans cancelling their D&D Beyond subscriptions.

WotC was literally hemorrhaging money in the wake of the OGL debacle. Hasbro stocks are down to where they’re laying off as much as 15% of their workforce. Kyle Brink should have been part of the team that brought fans back to D&D.

That would have been cool until he went on 3 Black Halflings and gave some pretty uncoached comments that are very likely going to cheese off a bunch of fans. Just what WotC needed, right? I can’t figure out what this guy was thinking, but if you listen to the whole interview, he sounds about as ignorant about the TTRPG fandom as CEO Cynthia Williams or VP of Digital Development Chris Cao. WotC is sorely in need of an executive purge.

(*Hey, I know this guy– me- who’d be happy to work there once all the stooges have been cleaned out. I promise I’m the most laid back boss ever. LOL!)

I’ve been talking about this on and off for two years and then THIS GUY comes along.

Transcript from 3 Black Halflings Interview.
Kyle Brink’s exact comments.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know I’m not a big fan of naming and shaming specific individuals. Believe me, there have been a few I would have loved to have called out on their bullsht in the past, even recently. I don’t have a problem calling Kyle Brink out. If this clown thinks I’m leaving the hobby that I’ve been involved with for 40 years? They’re going to be burying me with my dice some day.

I hate to tell Kyle Brink and WotC this, but they’re barking up the wrong tree again! For crying out loud, he’s their spokesman! WTAF made him think that comment was going to fly?!? “…guys like me can’t leave soon enough.” WHAT?

Kyle Brink’s LinkedIn photo

Honestly, I’ve talked about this so much. Kyle can leave the TTRPG hobby or WotC. That’s on him. His context is a little blurry from his quote, but I’m pretty sure he meant TTRPGs and he did say it was his opinion. Good for him. I wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up or whatever he ends up doing.

That having been said? If you’re not passionate about D&D and/or tabletop gaming in general, Kyle- GET OUT OF D&D NOW! For God’s sake, do us all a favor and get the sam-shttin-Hell out of the hobby before you do any more damage. It’s bad enough WotC has two other clueless clowns running around posing as management. Kyle, do the whole industry a favor and walk away! No one will think less of you after that bullsht comment.

Hey dude, I resemble that remark. I ain’t happy.

Your humble narrator.

News flash: I’m NOT going anywhere. I’m in the TTRPG hobby to say. I’m really, truly, in the depths of my heart getting sick of WotC and their paid goons like Kyle “Jar-Jar” Brink trying to get rid of anyone and anything older than they are. WotC took over before the 3rd Ed years. For some reason, they seem to have an attitude malfunction toward anything and everything older than that. That tends to piss off a LOT of us older white guys. Yeah, Kyle- ya done stepped in something.

I’ve tangled with the #OSR. I’ve also sided with the OSR. Like it or not, I’m a part of the Old School Renaissance crowd. FYI, it’s about to become the Old School RESISTANCE or Old School REBELLION, Kyle. That’s right, brother. I’m still gonna be doin this when I’m a hundred and two years old and there ain’t nothin you’re gonna do to stop me, WotC. Oh Yeah.

We can step into the squared circle, Kyle Brink. Oh yeah. I’m callin you out, brother. I’ll show ya what an old man with a bad back and chronic pain can still do to your clown 丑ss. I will hurt your feelings. You better bring your A game, brother. Oh yeah. I still got mad skillz. Falls count anywhere. Somebody ring the bell. (* I was a fan of the Hulkster and the Macho Man Randy Savage. Oh Yeah.)

Pro wrestling analogy aside, I’ve already been here.

Seriously. All joking aside. Let’s talk about inclusivity.

First off, at no point in time am I dissing on 3 Black Halflings. Their efforts made this interview possible. Big THANK YOU to them!

Next, I’m really a fan of both diversity and inclusivity. We all have a seat at the gaming table. Brink is right about one thing. It’s not just a bunch of old white guys sitting around their parents’ basement any more. It hasn’t been since around the 1990s. You’d know that if you were really into D&D, Kyle.

WotC is propagandizing their struggle with the likes of NuTSR, aka Justin LaNasa and Dave Johnson. They tried to make a very racist revised edition of an old original T$R property owned by WotC. It was going to be called “Star Frontiers New Genesis.” Unfortunately Cynthia, Chris Cao, WotC’s lawyers, and apparently our friend Kyle all heard about it. The judge basically laughed LaNasa and NuTSR right out of his courtroom. Suddenly WotC got bit by the inclusion bug.

#Hadozee comes up a lot in this discussion, too. The old 2nd Ed Spelljammer included some pretty messed up racist sht. Then WotC came along with their schlocky version of it, without editing whatsoever, and reprinted it line by line. Don’t they feel smart now.

Last, a bunch of us tuned into the 3 Black Halflings interview in the wake of the OGL crisis to see what WotC’s pet manure spreader was going to say. It was interesting to hear what Kyle would say when PR wasn’t whispering in his ear or telling him what to type. Wow, it’s obvious WotC execs really are a bunch of clueless twonks who probably should be about as unemployed as yours truly right now. Sht floats to the top at WotC. For real.

In conclusion.

Again, Kyle- now’s a good time to get out of D&D if that’s how you feel. WotC employees are ready to flee like rats off a sinking ship last we heard. That’s cool because I also imagine Paizo and other real game companies are going to need that extra help soon. I bet there’s even a place for Kyle Brink scrubbing toilets and mopping floors at one of them.

Thanks for stopping by, #ttrpgfamily. I love you all so much. We wouldn’t get this upset about a hobby if we didn’t care. That passion showed all during the month of January battling for #OpenDnD. We’ll weather this storm, too. Back tomorrow with more #FrighteningFebruary.

Why I Say, “It’s Over For Now.”

Hi. Not the article I planned to write today. Someone on Twitter asked if I was done with my conspiracy theories. Someone also asked why I say we’re not done yet when it comes to Wizards of the Coast. Because WotC isn’t done with us. Sure, we won the OGL battle, but look what’s not being discussed in the open.

Wizards of the Coast didn’t just give up.

I’m trying not to be a Debbie Downer about this whole D&D Open Game License debate. In fact, I’ve been doing my best not to say anything that might jinx it. Family, I’m sorry. I’m still staring at the chalkboard because something just doesn’t quite add up about this whole affair.

Yes, we should cherish this as a victory for #OpenDnD and I am truly happy that System Reference Document 5.1 is now under Creative Commons License. I am filled with joy that we can continue on with OGL 1.0a in perpetuity, creating “Old School” Dungeons & Dragons content for 3.5 and 5E. It’s great. Truly, I’m celebrating it as a big win for us- i.e. the fans and content creators.

What’s a group of weasels called?

WotC? Maybe it’s Hasbro? The real answer is, “boogle” or more importantly, a “sneak.” As in, they’re sneaky.

I find it a bit tough to believe that anyone stupid or cunning enough to turn the entire TTRPG industry on its ear for most of January would just roll over and give up,. It’s too easy. Yes, they were under significant pressure with the cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. Yeah, the fans were super irritated with WotC. Supposedly WotC reacted to feedback from the community.

I have serious trust issues with large corporations. Truthfully, having lived through the 1980s and being fired by one, I just can’t bring myself to ever trust a corporation again. I’m aware of what it sounds like. I can’t believe or trust anything WotC says until certain executives are gone. Even then, I’ll always have doubts.

Huzzah! The OSR is saved. Case closed. Right?

I’m taking some grief on Twitter because I have a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding WotC and the Great OGL Debacle of 2023. Remember, I’m only crazy until I’m correct. The term “conspiracy” was cooked up by a certain government department that wanted it to have a negative connotation.

Sure, we can theoretically keep making Old School Renaissance/Revival/Regrowth/Re-whatever until Hell itself freezes over. And that’s great. People might not realize it yet, but 5E pretty much became part of the OSR the day One D&D was announced. (If you listen closely, you can hear the old fartz starting to panic at that notion.) WotC’s endgame was never about prior editions. They’ve already made it clear.

Yes, mission accomplished. We can keep making older edition stuff forever under OGL 1.0a and SRD 5.1 CC-BY-4.0. That’s lovely. WotC theoretically threw us a bone. Reasons why will likely remain a mystery.

Remember, WotC “doesn’t see editions any more.”

Yeah. Because they want One D&D to be the only game we’ll ever play as far as they’re concerned. (*My opinion.) The heck with all those older editions. One D&D with its big, gnarly, fancy-shmancy digital platform is where it’s at now don’t cha know?

The reasons WotC gave in look spontaneous. Sure, maybe it’s the fans. Maybe it was Hasbro. Maybe it was all those cancelled DDB subs. OR maybe they’ve got another plan. There are a LOT of things WotC has not addressed yet.

I’ll play angel’s advocate for a minute. Hasbro was under a lot of pressure to deal with WotC. Hasbro stocks took a dip. Media attention was on the OGL for a minute. The new D&D movie, Honor Among Thieves is coming out. Critical Role was getting some attention from Amazon. Cynthia Williams and Chris Cao are still pulling the strings.

Oh look. Smoke & Mirrors.

WotC gave us the old pen and paper D&D on a platter. Sure, make all the OGL stuff we want. BUT- What if, just what if, that was never their endgame? They want One D&D to be the only Virtual TableTop in the industry. They want One D&D to be a lifestyle brand. D&D players are their cash cow.

What if they aren’t worried about the OGL because they have ways around it? Sure, make all the OGL stuff we want. Plaster “5E” on everything. What if Wizards of the Coast owns, or is planning to own OneBookShelf and Roll 20? What if WotC went out of their way to make sure the new D&D Beyond website was pretty much the only way to purchase old D&D pdfs?

Rumor has it that Chris Cao, one of the guys pulling the strings at WotC, doesn’t even see physical books as a concern going forward. He thinks they’re just nostalgia. Merely collector’s items. Chris Cao hasn’t even played D&D as far as we know. He thinks it’s like a mobile app or a computer game. (*according to WotC employees.)

What if WotC is planning to squeeze out Friendly Local Game Stores, Amazon, and independent book dealers? WotC wants to make it so all roads lead back to their new digital platform. Think about what it might do to the TTRPG industry if Hasbro or WotC has a veritable monopoly on electronic and physical book distribution.

Itch.io and Paizo.com are going to get more traffic. Great. All of our indie games and content that used to be on DriveThruRPG.com and DMsGuild.com might have to go through WotC or a website owned by Hasbro. More money in the corporation’s pockets. We can create all the content we want, but if we want to sell it, we’d have to either do it piecemeal all over the internet or go through WotC.

Just what if all those Hasbro layoffs were used to free up some capital available for the purchase on OneBookshelf? Sounds kinda far out. Then again, if Linda Codega hadn’t broken the story about OGL 1.1, none of us would believe the reality WotC would have had us living in back in early January. Put nothing past WotC at this point.

It’s all just my opinion, speculation, and conjecture.

Make what you will of it. I still think we’re getting played by Wizards of the Coast. I think Williams and Cao are smarter than we give them credit for. I think Chris Cocks at Hasbro is smarter than we give him credit for.

I hope I’m wrong about all of this. We almost witnessed the collapse of our beloved hobby industry. We could still be fighting just to keep the OGL alive. I’m just thinking of the journey from the travesty that was OGL 1.1 to where we are now. How is WotC going to recover?

Sure, maybe D&D Beyond gets a few subscribers back. According to the rumors, Chris Cao doesn’t even like DDB. The new Unreal Engine powered VTT and accompanying website are supposed to replace it anyway. New platform, new subscriptions. D&D Beyond will soon be a decaying relic.

Sure, maybe they sell a few more movie tickets to Honor Among Thieves. Maybe Hasbro saves face on with Paramount. I mean, I’m not going, but maybe somebody will.

Sure, maybe WotC saved face with the fans. They might even sell some of those “collector’s books” they’re putting out. And maybe DMsGuild continues to sell those pesky pdfs to keep the cattle, err…fans happy as far as the stockholders are concerned. Maybe Hasbro stocks will stabilize next quarter.

Darn straight I don’t trust WotC. We all need to remain vigilant. I’m telling you, family, it ain’t over yet. Sure, #OpenDnD won the day. Hallelujah. But we ain’t done with WotC’s shenanigans.

Thanks for stopping by and humoring me with all of my crazy ideas. I promise we really are going to get back to gaming. The dust will settle eventually and we can have some fun. I appreciate you.

TTRPG Conspiracies Part 3.

If Wizards of the Coast is truly bent on taking over the industry, they need to eliminate or acquire OneBookShelf. Would the Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro allow such an acquisition with the whole community up in arms over the OGL? Remember, DnD Beyond subscriptions are being cancelled all over the place. Money to throw at this RPG thing might be getting kinda tight at Hasbro. On the other hand, the powers that be wast D&D to be their billion dollar lifestyle brand. Poor DnD is “under monetized” these days.

Hang onto your tinfoil hats. This one is pretty far out.

This particular hypothesis is going to be more controversial than others I have posed. So far I’ve been pretty hit-or-miss with the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License controversy. Let’s go even farther out onto the limb.

Everything from here on out is mostly speculation. I don’t know anyone inside WotC or OneBookShelf (DriveThruRPG.com, DMsGuild.com, etc.) These are my observations along with some of the leaked information about WotC from various sources during the OGL 1.1 scandal. Believe me or don’t. It’s fine.

We’ve all been tiptoeing around the question.

What’s going to happen with Roll 20 and OneBookShelf before the One D&D launch in 2024? Certainly, all that’s going on with the OGL either 1.1 or 1.2 must be affecting them. Right? I know I’m not the only one who wonders.

Of course, everything is happening behind closed doors, so all we can do is ask questions. Admittedly, I’m asking them into the void that is the Internet, but at least I’m asking. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for some of these conversations that are going on in the TTRPG industry behind closed doors.

Tinfoil Hat time.

Pretend you’re one of the head honchos at Wizards of the Coast. You’ve purchased D&D Beyond because it’s the nearest digital platform that bears the D&D name. You’re looking to dominate the electronic (pdf, e-pub, etc) market as well as the Virtual TableTop market. Call WotC a lot of names, stupid isn’t necessarily one of them.

Roll 20 partnered up with OneBookShelf last year. Most of us would agree that Roll 20 is probably the next biggest VTT platform. DriveThruRPG.com is probably the biggest seller of pdfs. It’s also noteworthy that WotC does a LOT of business through DTRPG/OneBookShelf. DMsGuild.com is a OneBookShelf subsidiary.

If Wizards of the Coast is truly bent on taking over the industry, they need to eliminate or acquire OneBookShelf. Would the Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro allow such an acquisition with the whole community up in arms over the OGL? Remember, D&D Beyond subscriptions are being cancelled all over the place. Money to throw at this RPG thing might be getting kinda tight.

WotC is already half way into buying OBS/Roll 20.

DMsGuild already shares 20% of the profits with WotC. We know from Kickstarter that WotC was cutting sweetheart deals to certain companies during the failed OGL 1.1 implementation. What if, just what if WotC cut a deal with OneBookShelf?

When things go live in 2024 with One D&D’s Digital platform, OBS/Roll 20 is either going to be rolled into WotC or their biggest competitor in the market. I could easily see WotC assuming absolute control over The DMs Guild and pulling the rest of their product from OBS minimum. More likely all OBS/Roll 20 profits are rolled into WotC. Roll 20 will probably vanish from the face of the Earth if I am guessing correctly.

We already know WotC doesn’t care about the fans.

It wouldn’t be out of their character for them to absorb the largest pdf distributor in the TTRPG industry. WotC has already turned the entire industry on its ear with the OGL 1.1 scandal. Would it really be unthinkable to screw literally everyone on OneBookShelf communities by absorbing the whole platform? I personally wouldn’t put it past WotC at this point.

It’s really no different than Elon, Lord of the Bots, taking over Twitter. We’ve seen that big business pretty much always gets what it sets its sights on here in the United States. Hasbro/WotC is certainly big business when the next closest competitor to D&D makes about a tenth as much money annually.

Thinking about this, why wouldn’t Hasbro want the biggest competitor in the digital market and by far the largest distributor or e-pub, pdf, etc. Why not make probably 75% or better of the companies in the TTRPG industry come to them to sell pdfs? All TTRPGs are indistinguishable from D&D, right?

Not to mention WotC said they “don’t see editions” when it comes to D&D in their video intro to One D&D last year. It’s going to be a lot easier to not see any other officially published material from older editions if WotC takes over the DMsGuild. One way or another, WotC seems extra determined to clamp down on third party D&D creators and get those juicy royalties.

I want to be wrong on this one.

As far as I know, no one from OneBookShelf has commented on the OGL debacle or any deals with Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast. NDAs all around, I imagine. I doubt we’ll hear much until closer to 2024 on this one.

I see WotC as wanting to dominate the entire TTRPG industry. Who will win the TTRPG Wars? Will all TTRPGs become D&D?

If this does go down and Hasbro sucks up OBS/Roll 20 however they do it, what does the rest of the industry have to do? Other platforms such as Itch.io and Patreon will soon get a lot more popular. But there is only one DriveThruRPG. What could possibly replace it if it goes away forever?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Next time let’s talk about printed products.

I Feel Sorry for Renegade Studios.

I WAS a huge fan of Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPG before big brother Hasbro ruined the TTRPG industry for many of us by causing the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License debacle. I can’t support anything owned by Hasbro any more. Wizards of the Coast can’t be trusted right now. Hasbro can’t be trusted right now. @renegadestudios falls under the Hasbro umbrella. Sorry, family.

The fallout of the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License disaster will probably affect it’s Hasbro cousin.

Renegade Studios makes RPGs and Board Games for a myriad of settings. They’re the current producers of Vampire, Hunter, and other World of Darkness properties. They make board games for Power Rangers, GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and more. I used to be a huge fan of some of the RPGs listed.

Power Rangers RPG was my jam this time last year. I loved running solo and small group RPG adventures in the Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign I was building. I’d even go back to it if I weren’t conscientious of the fact that Renegade is owned by Hasbro. The hobby and game industry, in which I participate is already being dominated by this huge corporation. Why do they want life to be hard on their potential customers?

It sucks that Renegade, who were off to such a great start, have to suffer because of their bigger cousin.

Wizards of the Coast is doing the best they can to appease Hasbro. I get it. All these little subsidiary companies have to earn their keep or be absorbed back into the larger corporation. Or worse- shut down completely. We went over three decades without Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs. (Official ones, anyway.) Their losses are going to be mourned.

Vampire? Hunter? Now we’re into what used to be big names in the TTRPG industry. I could kind of see World of Darkness surviving via the Storyteller’s Vault courtesy of OneBookShelf. But new official material would probably go away unless Hasbro got the bright idea to do something with the Intellectual Property.

Hasbro is being boycotted right now. I would even go so far as to say canceled by outraged Dungeons & Dragons fans. The OGL 1.1 scandal sent massive shockwaves through the TTPRG industry. The message is clear: We, the fans, can no longer trust Wizards of the Coast or parent corporation, Hasbro.

The people at Renegade have to be feeling the pain, too.

If you’ve been in the roleplaying game space long enough, you get to know people. You meet fans, make friends, even lifelong companions playing games. Friendly Local Game Stores, conventions, friends from random pickup games online can be spread out all over the place. It seems like most of us know someone that works for a game company from social media, or wherever.

The people that make up Renegade Studios are like that, too. Many of them are not new to the industry. Very likely they know some Wizards of the Coast employees and Third Party Content Creators as well. Many of these creators are probably in contact with one another. I’m guessing all of these folx, WotC employees included, probably know freelancers in the industry, too.

Freelancers and small time TTRPG content producers are probably getting hit the worst by this OGL flap. Until a new OGL is, umm, ratified? Approved? Rammed down our throats by WotC if I had to guess. Until there is an official new OGL pick-a-number, a very large number of game companies hang in the balance.

I’ll say it again. Use your own discernment over who to support in the industry.

My personal preference is to let Hasbro and both of their TTRPG siblings twist in the wind. I won’t spend a dime with them until things change dramatically. We might be talking about 7th Ed D&D before I’ll buy another WotC product. My kids will all be getting board games and TTRPGs from every company that’s not associated with Hasbro in 2023. (I was looking forward to the relaunch of Axis & Allies from Renegade. Oh fcking well.)

I think the financial crunch Hasbro was already finding itself in at the end of last year was already hurting Renegade. Personally, if I had Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs? Y’all would be sick of hearing about sourcebooks and adventures for all three. I mean an egregious number of sourcebooks. I’d be begging Hasbro to let me put WotC to shame right now.

But, alas there are no Movie Universe Sourcebooks, vehicle guides, adversary sourcebooks, season sourcebooks, adventures like crazy or even a fan content policy. The GI Joe and Transformers RPG could have the crossover sourcebook from Hell if they wanted to. Renegade could be doing crossovers the fans have wanted to see for years, and they’re dribbling out little board game releases and fairly inconsequential adventure books for all these Hasbro licensed properties. Tis sad. The OGL debacle and heat from Hasbro is not helping at all.

I am sincerely hoping things turn around for Renegade in the coming year.

I would love to go back to writing Power Rangers stuff for FREE. I had some GI Joe adventures in the outline stages for this year. I so want an excuse to run Transformers with my kids. None of this will happen until the OGL disaster gets straightened out. Hasbro can my and themselves while they’re at it. I’m ing mad!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep fighting the good fight. Please keep the OGL battle fresh in everyone’s minds.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE!”
#BoycottHasbro
#BoycottWotC

TTRPG Conspiracies Part 2.

WotC’s image is hurting right now. Their Public Relations people know it. Hasbro’s stock drop showed it. #StoptheSub , #DnDBeGone have proven devastatingly effective. WotC needs a big, shiny, smiling win if they want One D&D and it’s overpriced Unreal Engine microtransactions to survive in 2024. It’s just my theory, but what better way than with the crew that brought so many people into the game? Then again, WotC does seem pretty oblivious to the fans these days…

The other Matt Mercer Effect.

Anyone who knows anything about Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition knows the awesome power of Critical Role and Dungeon Master, Matt Mercer. This Actual Play broadcast has brought thousands, maybe closer to a million new players into the D&D game for the first time. Kudos to Matt and his merry cast of voice actors. Love it.

Now, I am guilty of talking trash about Matt Mercer and the effect he is commonly associated with. I have nothing personal against Matt. (We share a birthday oddly enough.) The original Matt Mercer Effect is the notion that new DMs struggle to run a game that compares to Critical Role. New DMs don’t necessarily have a huge repertoire of accents, voices, NPCs, game knowledge, etc the same way Matt Mercer does.

Make no mistake- Matt Mercer is awesome at what he does both in-game and in real life. Aside from being a top notch DM, creating a lush campaign world, developing his own D&D content, starting his own company, and running a world renowned Actual Play, Matt Mercer is a major onboarding engine for the D&D 5E game. That is the other Matt Mercer Effect. He is a magnet for new D&D players.

I admire Matt Mercer and Critical Role.

As I discussed yesterday, many of us in the TTRPG hobby would love to work for a game company and make real money doing what we love. Matt Mercer is definitely living the dream. I admire that. He gets to write, create, and enjoy D&D on a regular basis. We should all be so lucky.

Arguably, Matt and Critical Role would not be where they are today without the Open Game License 1.0a and accompanying System Reference Document from Wizards of the Coast. There are more than one D&D 5E sourcebooks based on Critical Role. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is a Wizards of the Coast D&D Sourcebook. Likewise, Call of the Netherdeep is a WotC sourcebook.

Here’s where the river of profits parts ways, maybe?

Tal’dorei Reborn, set in Mercer’s Exandria, is an OGL sourcebook, meaning it will be affected in all of the OGL drama that is currently gripping the community. WotC was even a sponsor of Critical Role up until Q3 of 2022. I have not found anything indicating a continued relationship between WotC and Critical Role at this time. I minimum presume Non Disclosure and Non Disparagement Agreements are still in place for Critical Role cast and crew. Such agreements are usually binding for many years. (I’m NOT a lawyer, but it’s my personal experience.)

Critical Role put out a statement in regards to the OGL debacle and the massive fan outrage at WotC. #DnDBeGone and former spokesperson Ginny Di led to a mass cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. D&D Beyond was once the sponsor of Critical Role before everything started changing hands. Wizards of the Coast was the sponsor of Critical Role Season 3.

This is Critical Role’s stance on the OGL debacle. c/0 Twitter.

And now the Tinfoil Hat Society convenes.

Bear in mind I don’t know anyone inside WotC or Critical Role. Everything I say from here on out is speculation and/or conjecture. Please use your own discernment while I attempt to connect the dots.

Critical Role’s statement about the OGL was very neutral as one would expect from people behind NDAs. The language around supporting creators leans toward the fans. The language about diversity, etc leans toward OGL 1.2 a bit more. It’s hard to read, as it should be. Critical Role is trying to make nice with everybody right now. Yay money, right?

Everyone keeps asking if Critical Role is going to abandon D&D either as a result of the OGL turmoil or the (pending) release of One D&D. I think Critical Role is going to back WotC and the new digital platform to the hilt. Wizards of the Coast absolutely needs Matt Mercer and crew almost as much as Critical Role needs a huge corporate sponsor.

Wizards needs a miracle right now if they want to save D&D.

While it is true that Critical Role started out as a Pathfinder Actual Play, the show really caught on as D&D 5E. IF/F WotC wants to pull themselves out of the muck, they’re going to need something like Matt Mercer and/or Critical Role. The show is pretty much a massive endorsement for whatever game they’re playing. There’s no real denying it.

WotC’s image is hurting right now. Their Public Relations people know it. Hasbro’s stock drop showed it. #StoptheSub , #DnDBeGone have proven devastatingly effective. WotC needs a big, shiny, smiling win if they want One D&D and it’s overpriced Unreal Engine microtransactions to survive in 2024. What better way than with the crew that brought so many people into the game? Then again, WotC does seem pretty oblivious to the fans these days…

A LOT of things happened behind NDAs with the OGL 1.1 scandal.

I don’t want to paint Matt Mercer and Co in a bad light. I low key hope I’m wrong about all of this. I’m by no means trying to side with WotC on anything. But I’m looking at this whole situation and thinking, “What would I do if I were WotC?”

We know WotC approached several key content creators and told them what was going on, presumably with OGL 1.1, and asked them to sign NDAs in return for the information. Some went along with it. Others did not. Some of the creators that agreed are obviously still keeping quiet or even still quietly cheerleading for WotC. (Hey, I wouldn’t want to lose my gig being a DM in a castle, either. “Look at Dragonlance. Ain’t it cool?”)

We also know from Kickstarter coming forward after the NDA expired that WotC offered some sweetheart deals or negotiated better terms with some than others. Kinda scummy on WotC’s part, but not unexpected given the circumstances.

What if- Just WHAT IF WotC offered Critical Role one of those sweetheart deals? WotC is a big corporate sponsor offering a better percentage on royalties than they’re willing to give the little guys. All CR had to do was sign the deal with the proverbial devil.

Critical Role was already on board from 5E. Again, not saying anything bad about the CR crew or Matt Mercer. They’re running a business. What would be best for business? Signing on the dotted line or chancing it with some other game knowing full well everything OGL- including Tal’Dorei Reborn- was going to be under fire with the next license agreement? Think about it. What’s safest and most profitable for everyone?

The “new” news.

Obviously the Critical Role cast and crew can’t really come out in favor of another game unless they didn’t sign a deal with WotC or all deals were voided when WotC backed off OGL 1.1 in favor of the OGL 1.2 draft. We won’t know anything until either CR breaks their silence or One D&D goes live sometime in 2024. My guess is CR stayed with Wizards of the Coast.

However, Linda Codega has hinted at a big news drop sometime on 1/24 probably involving the OGL debacle. An interview with Matt Mercer or someone from Critical Role. Could this be the case?

Could CR have signed with WotC and kept it non-exclusive? I’d want to keep my options open in case being WotC’s poster child and veritable pariah in the #TTRPGCommunity didn’t work out. Maybe explore other game systems and back other companies until the company and the cast could get out from under the Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro. We’ve recently learned of Hasbro Initiative 2.0 or some such nonsense where the smelly megacorp is dumping some of their lower producing branches.

I hate to say it, but I guess we’ll see what happens. I wish Matt Mercer and Critical Role all the success in the world. It’s good to see one of us ttrpg nerds hit the big time.

Hey, I could be wrong about everything. It’s just a hypothesis, subject to testing. I’m just a small time blogger with a nose for TTRPGs and kooky conspiracies. Thanks for stopping by. More on this as things develop.

January 19th, Interrupted.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’d love to talk about other issues, but the #TTRPGIndustry has been in my purview for 4 decades.

Normally this is when I celebrate Freedom Day.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’ll touch briefly on a few things in this life update.

One of the very disturbing things with this whole Wizards of the Coast Open Game License crisis is the number of their employees that have apparently been terminated at their Dungeons & Dragons branch for giving an honest opinion when asked for one. That’s pretty despicable. Turns out I know a guy who was once canned from a McCorporate job for doing something similar. It royally sucks.

Fast life updates.

My kids are currently home from school. Since Winter Break they have been out of school more than they have been in it. Professional Development days for teachers have taken up several of these days off. There was also an incident where all of the school’s servers had to be shut down due to an incident with a hacker. Followed by MLK day and more Professional Development.

You may have noticed some menu items have vanished from my site recently. New and different content is on the way. The rate at which people and businesses come in and fall out of my life varies from day to day.

My SSDI hearing date is finally set. I’m more than a little anxious about it. That money would really help my family right now. My wife is doing the best she can, but turns out a teacher’s salary in Iowa doesn’t really keep a family of 6 afloat indefinitely. If SSDI doesn’t work out, things are gonna get real bleak around here.

You may have noticed the cute little ducky emoji in some of my recent articles. I decided to start dropping the cute little ducky into the middle of certain words in an effort to keep things more PG-13-ish. I know some will say I should just keep using harsh language as I have in the past. I prefer to think of this as editing out the word with a quack. I borrowed this idea from YouTube animator/gamer/content creator Dingo Doodles and others who use the quack to cover various four or five letter words.

This is interesting times for my favorite industry.

[Update: The OGL story is moving faster than I can keep up with it. Please be patient. Full breakdown of WotC and OGL 1.2 coming soon.]

I’ll talk more about this tomorrow, and probably the rest of the week. I’m someone who would like to work as a freelancer in the TTRPG industry or possibly start my own company. This is a horrible time to freelance in that industry because Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro decided to tamper with a 20+ year old OGL that has been sustaining the industry.

The TTRPG hobby/industry is not all about D&D contrary to what some might have you believe. A lot of companies and freelancers bank on that OGL protecting them from lawsuits so they can make 5E content or derivative content without fear of being sued out of existence by WotC and their crack team of ninja hit lawyers. “Lawyers of the Coast/Wizards of the Court” chased down a lot of Intellectual Property infringement cases back in the 4th Edition days and even before that.

The OGL flap centers around the deauthorization or abolishment of what used to be an “Open” Game License meaning game mechanics and terms were okay to use as outlined in the official System Reference Document. This means one can create their own game or derivative based on it as long as one doesn’t use certain copyrighted terms owned by Wizards of the Coast. Everything else is fair game as long as a copy of the OGL is attached and those pesky WotC-owned terms are avoided completely.

This ranges from copying and pasting the entire SRD into a document as a base for an entire game to just using one or two terms in a specific manner such as “ability scores” or “Armor Class.” Back many years ago the Supreme Court of the United States made it illegal to copyright game terms. One can’t simply go and copyright chess or checkers, for example. But with the OGL and subsequent SRD in place since 2000, game designers and writers have come up with all sorts of games, sourcebooks and articles based on it.

It doesn’t have to be a fantasy game, either. I have plenty of OGL Wild West, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Sci-fi and Horror supplements. D20 Modern from WotC operates under the OGL as well. Entire companies has sprouted up around the OGL. Goodman Games, makers of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Paizo Inc, who created Pathfinder are just two examples of such companies. For those who follow this site, I was making DCC content for free with Goodman’s blessing. I was getting ready to use Pathfinder for #Dungeon23. Not any more, unfortunately.

That’s what happened to literally every company that runs off of the OGL last week. Projects were scrapped or put on hold. Freelance writers and artists were put on hold or not contacted. Layoffs and/or firings from smaller game companies are expected. I suspect a lot of writers are going to move onto greener pastures as a result. Maybe that’s what WotC intended all along?

GRR! Why can’t we have nice things, WotC?

Hope springs eternal, but doesn’t pay the rent.

“Hope” is one of those words Law of Attraction experts say never to use. Basically, it’s already there in an LoA Universe. We don’t have to “hope” because we know it’s coming. Don’t hope, intend for things to happen. But I’m using “hope” here because I’m making some points about what the TTRPG industry is facing.

We hope Hasbro/WotC don’t put up an OGL that deauthorizes the old OGL 1.0A. No OGL that is truly “Open” includes paying royalties, declaring profits, and signing contracts. We hope we can scramble around and get another TTRPG built and get it on Kickstarter, Patreon, or DriveThruRPG soon. We hope Paizo’s #ORCLicense gets put in place fast enough to save some of our work.

We hope WotC does the merciful thing and leaves OGL 1.0A exactly the way it was. There’s still a minute chance? No?

We intend to have an industry that thrives, but alas WotC and their Hasbro Reptilian overlords are hindering it. The horrible fact is that indie companies, artists, and writers are panicking big time. “Hope we can pay the rent next month” is more of what they’re thinking. YouTubers, artists, and writers alike have quit their regular day jobs to make D&D content under the OGL. A lot of us might be updating resumes and dusting off that interview clothing to go back to a “regular” job (which royally sucks.)

As a side note, why is a company that made a BILLION dollars last year worried about the next largest competing company that maybe pulled in four or five million? Hasbro, are you really that desperate to crush businesses that should not even appear on your radar? What kind of sick weirdo gets their jollies off seeing small companies and individuals suffer as a result of ill-conceived notions? I mean, who does that?

What does it mean for me?

I’m a little thtuck here.

I’m a prospective freelance writer. I’d be good at it assuming I could get over my social anxiety and depression long enough to accomplish something. But if companies were nervous about hiring before, they’re downright skittish now. My only other hope is to grind out my own game on my own system, come up with art, and pray that it sells.

This is a good time to be a blogger, however. We’re not going to stop pounding out determined article after another denouncing the heads of WotC and Hasbro for what they did and what they’re doing. Every leak, every time one of their flaws is exposed, we will cover it.

I’m part of a movement that will save jobs, the game of D&D perhaps, and the industry as a whole. It’s rumored that Hasbro and even WotC execs think the fans are an obstacle between them and more money. Those execs have no idea the kind of obstacles we can put up if their attitudes don’t visibly improve.

That’s where we are now.

That’s all I’ve got for today. It breaks my heart to see others suffer. I hate the fact that people I care about, a game that I once enjoyed, and an entire industry that I loved is falling apart at the seams because one corporation had to try to monopolize it. One nasty, awful, stinking, lousy corporation literally holds all the cards.

Thanks for stopping by. We’ll persevere. We always do. Keep believing in a benevolent Universe and a brighter future. Game on.

#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#OpenDnD
#DnDONE

The Length and Breadth of OGL 1.0a

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I was recently reminded how many games rely on this thing.

I’m a TableTop RolePlaying Game nut from wayyy back. I live for TTRPGs these days. Ever since becoming unemployed, they’re one of the handful of things that keep me sane. The recent Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License flap with Wizards of the Coast has me pretty concerned about the future of my hobby.

TTRPGs have really been more than a hobby to me ever since I ran my first D&D game at the age of 10. My friends didn’t want to be Dungeon Master, so they taught me the game and then basically turned it over to me. It just kinda stuck. I was hopelessly and irreversibly hooked. Not in a negative way. I mean, there were way worse things I could have gotten hooked on.

Decades have gone by. Editions of D&D have gone by. I’m still up to my eyeballs in game books both in print and pdf. When the OGL scandal broke, I took stock of just how many 3.5 and 5E books I rely on. Turns out, quite a few.

The fantasy outside of the fantasy.

I’d be willing to bet money a lot of aspiring DMs/GMs probably dreamed of working for T$R back in the old days. (*The good, original T$R with Gygax and Co, not that other new thing we have nowadays.) Seriously, a lot of my heroes were RPG designers back then.

Many of the original T$R crew have moved onto greener pastures. Rest in Peace. But many of the second and third generation T$R guys are still going strong. Unfortunately, some of them passed from the golden embrace of T$R into the hands of Wizards of the Coast, but they’ve since gone onto great things. Sadly, most of the old school crew no longer works for WotC, and it really shows.

It used to be pretty tough to break into the industry as a writer. I’ve talked about this in previous articles. It was kinda the wild west when it came to RPG design. You either knew somebody and got in with an established company or created your own game/publication and hoped to survive. There was not a ton of cash in the industry then. It was more about (nerd) prestige.

Times have changed since the 80s and 90s. The Open Game License from Wizards of the Coast changed everything about the industry and the hobby, too. Entire game companies sprouted out of the OGL back in the day. Many of them are still around in one form or another. The industry went from “Tough break, kid,” to “Look what I made with the OGL, Ma!”

Anything from an entire genre-spanning RPG to a single D&D adventure could be created quick and dirty and thrown up on one of the various distribution sites for a pretty reasonable percentage, even for free. People started making enough to buy more gaming books just by producing their own character sheets and such. Talk about a great time to be in the hobby!

The stuff I want to be creating and for whom.

Pathfinder 2E. and/or Dungeon Crawl Classics. were top of my list. What’s Old is… would be fun, too. I also love ICONS from Ad Infinitum. (*I’m a big Steve Kenson fan.) Index Card RPG is great. D&D 5E or one of its many derivatives. (No link needed.)

I could literally name companies and/or games all day that I would go to work for tomorrow if they were hiring. Probably not WotC because I hear their management is awful and the employees are miserable. Of the games I listed, Pathfinder and DCC grew out of the OGL.

Why is that a problem? If the OGL gets deauthorized as WotC is incessantly pushing for it, there won’t likely be a free flow of content from any former OGL products or companies. I’m not even honestly sure how much I trust third party product distributors such and DriveThruRPG or even DMsGuild.com any more. It’s not that I have issues with OneBookShelf specifically, but the ability to keep producing D&D OGL 1.0a content might become severely limited in the very near future.

Genuine concern for what lies ahead.

I truly fear for Paizo Inc, Goodman Games, Troll Lord Games (Frog God and Necromancer games included) and even Old School Renaissance companies such as Necrotic Gnome. This is not a good time to have a 5E book or even a retroclone of D&D in the works. Sure, we can still probably print the old stuff, and that’s great. (*WotC has sort of assured us the old stuff will remained untouched for now.)

But what happens when Paizo goes to put out a Pathfinder 2E sourcebook after OGL 1.2 (or whatever they’re calling it today) takes effect? Companies could suddenly find themselves in court with Lawyers of the Coast in a big Intellectual Property dispute. No one wants that, except maybe Hasbro.

The panic created by this OGL mess alone has been enough to cause a downturn in the #TTRPGIndustry. Suddenly massive hoards of product has gone on sale by third party publishers to get what they still can while the OGL is still intact. Meanwhile, other projects are being scrapped or revised to include non-WotC OGL systems. It’s sad because a lot of freelance writers and artists are out of a job. With no money coming in, it’s hard to support a hobby or pay rent on time.

The McCorporate stooges at WotC just don’t get it.

They’re already done some serious damage to the industry with the leak of OGL 1.1 the legal abomination. Now the #TTPRGCommunity is squabbling amongst itself in places over information leaks and who’s telling the truth. Personally, I think it’s all intentional. I think it’s part of WotC’s plan to take over the industry and squash their competition completely.

They don’t see the OSR movement. They don’t see other TTRPGs that aren’t D&D. It’s rumored that one of the WotC/D&D execs has never played the game. He thinks it’s a MMORPG computer game or something. (*Sad.) They don’t see people at other companies or independent writers just trying to get by. I have doubts as to whether or not WotC execs ever dreamed of being anything beyond money-grubbing corporate weasels.

The WotC execs also don’t see all of the third party companies in the industry and the families that depend on their income. WotC execs don’t have to wonder if their next paycheck will come or how much it will be. They don’t see the drop or panic in third party sales. The fans do, but when has that ever mattered to Hasbro/WotC honchos?

Rumor has it that WotC employees are straight-up miserable, especially at the lower tiered echelons. Opinions are solicited, but honesty is not welcomed from the lower ranks. Even some mid-upper level people are allegedly scared to speak up about the OGL or any of the One D&D stuff. Some employees have even agreed that management can be draconian and thoughtless at WotC.

Who’d want to work like that unless nothing else was available? Imagine landing a dream job working for WotC making D&D a reality? Only to find out that it’s just as miserable or more so than working for McDonald’s? It’s bleak.

Maybe the instability was all part of the plan.

Yes, the Tinfoil Hat Society has arrived at the party. Again we see a fine line between absolute intentional genius Machiavellian planning or utter blunt stupidity. I’m banking on the genius side, myself. Hasbro/WotC execs are a lot of things, but stupid ain’t usually one of them. I might not like or agree with them, but I do low key respect most of them.

The other problem that I keep coming back to the OGL on is the WotC rumor mill. $30 subscription tiers to their new Unreal Engine Virtual “Table Top?” Not impossible. Even if the rumor was false, WotC could just as easily circle back around and jack up the price later. All they want to do is drain our wallets. I don’t even think the product matters in some cases.

I think the ground above Mr Gygax’s grave is getting warm from all the spinning beneath it. All of us dreamers are living the disappointment that comes with the OGL controversy and TTRPG market instability. Some people are abandoning their Actual Plays, YouTube careers, and even campaigns over this OGL nonsense. It makes me sad to see fans going from this hobby. But, a certain Wizards of the Coast exec allegedly wants an all-digital platform because he sees D&D as a video game.

If WotC thought the canceled D&D Beyond subscriptions were bad, wait til they see what happens to the new Honor Among Thieves movie. There’s already a boycott movement going for the movie. There are already boycotts going on Hasbro products. It’s going to get worse before it gets… somewhere? (*I can’t say “better.”)

Here’s where I sit.

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I feel pain for people announcing 5E projects right now. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Yes, better now than when WotC ruins the OGL, but what happens if the D&D fan base dries up due to all the McShenanigans going on inside WotC? What happens to the companies that once relied on the OGL as their primary means? Obviously small companies aren’t going to want to hire freelancers right now. That just leaves the other option.

Not gonna lie. It feels like 1996 all over again. The best option for doing much of anything in the TTRPG industry is going to revolve around independent efforts published on my own. I intend to find a workable OGL from another company or work with some sort of core rules tied to a Creative Commons License. The only major difference now is the pdf market makes things a little easier.

#OpenDnD

#DnDBeGone

#StoptheSub

#DnDONE (Emphasis on “DONE.”)

#BoycottHonorAmongThieves

#BoycottHasbro

Thanks for stopping by. You really are part of my #ttrpgfamily if you’re here reading this. Game on. Keep gaming. Things are changing. Let’s stick together no matter what.

Why the TTRPG Community is Stable.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

We hit a few bumps in the road last week, but we’re still strong together.

Strength comes through perseverance in the face of adversity. We’ve had a tumultuous week in the TableTop RolePlaying Game community. Like any other large group of people, we still have our squabbles. It happens.

The Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License 1.2 draft dropped along with an accompanying survey. Prior to that, we had a lot of rumors and accusations around false leaks. It’s been rough. We’re all doing the best we can. We’re not falling apart at the seams. We’re #TTRPGFamily !

PLEASE BE KIND TO WIZARDS of the COAST STAFF AND CREATORS!

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I can’t emphasize this enough. Please be kind to the hard-working people at Wizards of the Coast. Many of them have families to feed. Many of them are (probably) still big Dungeons & Dragons fans. The executives are making a lot of sketchy decisions right now in relation to OGL 1.0a, the original open license.

BUT THE OGL DEBACLE IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE AVERAGE EMPLOYEE!

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on Twitter and elsewhere encouraging harassment, doxxing, abuse, and even violence against Wizards of the Coast Staff. I am begging everyone- PLEASE BE KIND TO WotC EMPLOYEES! (*Yes, I’m yelling.) Please treat everyone at WotC the way you would want to be treated at your job. No one wants to be threatened with violence and harassment.

Kindness is key right now if we’re going to get our points across to the big, gnarly corporation that is Wizards of the Coast and parent company, Hasbro. I make no bones about the fact that I have no love for big, faceless, unfeeling corporate entities such as Hasbro. However, I do not hold it against regular people like you and me just trying to earn a living and take care of themselves/loved ones.

Shady crap going on behind closed doors at WotC.

If we’re going to blame anyone, let’s talk about the head honchos at WotC. Let’s talk about the higher-ups at Hasbro that are driving the “big” decisions. They, as most big scummy corporations, are really only motivated by one thing- making more money. They don’t necessarily give a rip how they make more money as long as it is rolling in.

The OGL 1.1, the agreement which started a virtual firestorm in the TTRPG community when leaked, was intended to make WotC more money and allow them to dominate the entire industry. It’s still obvious that WotC wants to eliminate any significant competition within the TTRPG industry. They want the monopoly, and they don’t care how they get it.

The community outrage over the Open Game License prompted the #DnDBeGone movement along with #StoptheSub . Fans united in the cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. WotC had to stop and pay attention. It is still unknown whether or not we derailed their evil plan or fell right into it.

But, hey- I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know? I have a lot of crazy theories. Some of them might even turn out to be correct.

There’s more than this OGL business in the works at WotC. Mark my words, we have not seen all they have planned for the game or the community. They want a lifestyle brand. They want D&D in every home on Earth if they could get it there. The D&D game is the least of their concerns. I think Hasbro wants D&D to be synonymous with the fantasy genre. They’re going to keep plotting and scheming.

Courtesy of They Live.

Surveys, lies, and well-intentioned YouTubers.

I will say it again. The TTRPG community, or as I like to say, the #ttrpgfamily is NOT fractured. We’re not falling apart regardless of what anyone says. Sure, we have our internal disagreements, same as any family or community. But let’s stay focused. We want a solid OGL. We want to keep playing D&D and selling our own cool content to go with it.

@DnD_Shorts @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion reported and corroborated a leak from WotC earlier in the week that said the One D&D survey comments are never read or considered. The YouTubers took a lot of heat for it when notable former WotC employees called them out. It later turned out that the leak was partially true, but the damage had already been done.

See, it turns out that the quantitative survey results are used as a barometer for supposed One D&D development. In the case of One D&D, surveys are a Public Relations tool to pacify fans by making them think they’re contributing to the development of the game and little else. This tactic has not changed since PR was invented. It’s a smokescreen.

Regardless of the survey results, whether or not they are read, the leak happened. The leak about the $30/month subscriptions and AI Dungeon Masters happened. My point here is: The information was passed on to these YouTubers from what was believed to be reputable sources.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Here’s where my caffeine-fueled, conspiracy-oriented mind takes over.

See, WotC and specifically whatever PR people are running the show, know the fans are highly reactive right now with the OGL hanging in the balance. We’re willing to take our information from anywhere we can get it, right? This is where the true masterminds come in.

See, WotC is currently spinning half-truths, misinformation, lies, and outright rubbish through various trustworthy sources. That way when we hear something “official” from WotC, they look credible because look at all the hogwash those “darn dirty YouTubers” were spouting. Even though those YouTubers are basically unwitting pawns in a larger chess game.

Please be aware there are shills out there in the community. There are the usual D&D cheerleaders who are WotC sympathizers around. There are plenty of people getting leaked information from inside the closed doors at WotC who are wittingly or unwittingly part of the plan. Remember, credible lies are often seeded with nuggets of truth.

Hasbro/WotC’s ultimate goal here is to get the community to mistrust one another and make themselves look good. Don’t fall for it. Stay together. Be kind to one another. Solidarity has the power to overcome a lot of corporate shenanigans.

I’m confident enough that I can publish anything I want on this blog and Wizards of the Coast will never read it. Ha ha ha. However, if Cynthia Williams invites me to Seattle, offers me a big old stack of money, and sits down to tea with me, we’ll talk. LOL! (*Ain’t holding my breath.)

The bloody painful bottom line.

WotC very likely has One D&D ready to roll out. The OGL is going to keep coming up until they push it through the way the execs want it. Sorry to be all gloom and doom, but that’s how I see it. I don’t believe the suits actually care what we think, they just want to vacuum money from our wallets.

Part of the “lifestyle brand” equation means the actual game D&D is a small part of the formula. Since the “regular people” in WotC’s demographics associate roleplaying with computer games, there’s an attempt being made to turn D&D into a computer game. Hence Unreal Engine Virtual TableTop. By the time all is said and done, there might not be a D&D TTRPG so much as another video game like Fortnite.

Let me break it down a different way to see if it makes sense:

  • Hasbro is pushing WotC to make more and more money.
  • D&D is their potential cash cow. (I’m still puzzled why not Magic: the Gathering, but that’s another article.)
  • Hasbro especially and WotC more generally don’t see a TTRPG community. They see a large group of D&D consumers.
  • Someone at Hasbro/WotC cooked up this notion of making D&D a “lifestyle brand” much like Fortnite or Harley Davidson.
  • What little competition D&D has would need to more or less conform to their corporate standard demographics and look like D&D. Make all TTRPGs into D&D. That way regular consumers won’t be confused.
    • D&D’s competition in the digital or VTT space must be conquered or conform.
    • D&D’s competition in the tabletop space needs to be squashed, silenced, or absorbed so all TTRPGs are D&D.
    • The OGL is a tool to accomplish the previous two goals.
    • Other obstacles must be overcome in 2023 to accomplish the overall goal. (I’ll cover those elsewhere. I think I might know what they’re planning.)
    • Eventually D&D is more or less crammed down our throats on TV, in the movies, in the console/computer game markets, merch everywhere, and oh, yeah the RPG which now looks exactly like a video game that is more relatable to consumers aged 10-60 that have tons of available, disposable income.

Hasbro/WotC literally sees the fans as obstacles between them and their money. I can honestly believe that. Cosplayers, YouTubers, other VTTs, Actual Play streamers, PDF sellers, Patreon and Kickstarter are either inconveniences or easily subverted tools.

People actually playing the TTRPG? They’ll jump on the VTT like all other consumers. They barely even acknowledged our presence until the OGL debacle went down. There are bound to be snags in any plan. They have Public Relations people to handle minor inconveniences to the overall plan.

Conclusion.

The fans- Players, Dungeon Masters, onlookers, and others need to keep the faith. We keep fighting the good fight. We keep running games and creating Actual Play live streams and podcasts. We keep playing editions that aren’t One D&D. We keep running TTRPGs that aren’t D&D.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Regardless of what else happens in court. Regardless of how big WotC’s market share gets. No matter how hard Hasbro tries to wring money out of our pockets- WE STICK TOGETHER like a #ttrpgfamily .

Be kind, understanding, and supportive of one another. Support older editions of D&D and other TTRPGs. Please show lots of love for Third Party Producers of OGL content. Keep speaking out against WotC and what they’re doing- PEACEFULLY. Show lots of love for our YouTubers. Keep on gaming!

#OpenDnD
#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#DnDONE Emphasis on “DONE.”
#ORCLicense

Wizards of the Coast Announces OGL 1.2.

We love the game. The OGL fracas is beginning to unravel the #ttrpgcommunity in strange and stressful ways. Some of us would very much like to get back to creating fun monsters to battle and magic items to find. Unfortunately, we can’t because we have all this quasi-legal sludge to muck about in.

Content Creators Cringe. Sorry to say many are NOT convinced.

Wizards of the Coast dropped this little nugget of joy on 1/19: https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/1432-starting-the-ogl-playtest

This message came with a new copy of the OGL 1.2. (*I wish they’d settle on a number.) The new OGL “Playtest” (*Horrible term used with a legal document, in my opinion.) has gotten a lot of negative reactions so far.

As the drama around the OGL continues, more and more content creators are moving toward other games. Pathfinder, the original alternative to D&D is getting lots of positive press. Paizo Inc, creators of Pathfinder are working with other game companies as well as Azora Law to create the Open RPG Creators (ORC) License. #ORCLicense . (*Azora Law was the firm involved in the creation of the original OGL for WotC.)

I’ve read the new OGL 1.2. I’m not thrilled.

There’s tons of coverage about this on YouTube already. I’m not going to get into every detail. Please look into the massive number of opinions on YouTube and Twitter and use your own discernment regarding the issue itself.

The main sticking point for many people, including myself, is the revocation/deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a. That’s not okay. The old license wasn’t broken.

WotC is including a Creative Commons License in regards to some mechanics. That’s great on the surface, but it doesn’t solve ALL of the problems. There are a LOT of things not given over to Creative Commons.

I’m not a lawyer, as with most of the TTRPG Community. OGL 1.2 looks to me like it’s riddled with loopholes. It seems sketchy. Honestly, I don’t trust it or WotC.

I’m also not a Virtual TableTop guy. I wasn’t planning to subscribe to the new D&D VTT because it looks a little too much like Fortnite to me. The only thing I will say, is WotC seems to want to dominate the VTT space in the same way they want to take over the entire TTRPG Industry.

Surveys.

I’m going to be blunt. I think their survey is going to be bullshit. (*Duckies are on vacation. ) Yes, I’m going to fill it out. I have zero faith that any comments on the survey will be read or considered. WotC could literally have upwards of 60,000 comments if the Change.org petition taught us anything. There’s no way in Hell WotC can digest that many comments.

Many people have said it and I’ll say it again. Surveys are a cheap Public Relations tactic used to try to appease angry fans. (*And we’re still angry.) It makes it appear that someone outside of WotC has anything to say about what they’re going to do. Trust me family, as much as I hate it, we really have NO SAY in what WotC is going to do. They simply don’t care. WotC is going to push through their agenda no matter what we say on a survey.

I also have a hunch that the wording of the survey is going to have no room for condescension from or negativity toward the license. If I had to guess, our options are going to be “agree” or “agree more.” WotC wants the fans to tell them what a great job they’re doing. Problem is, WotC sucks out loud and they know it! (My opinion.)

Badges?!?

The new OGL mentions Creator Badges. Using content in the license can be marked by one of three styles of badges depending on what level the badge is issued? Purchased? Agreed upon? Sorry. The whole badge thing seems vague and sketchy to me.

If I had to guess, badges are going to require a bunch of stuff that was originally released in OGL 1.1. So, if you want a creator badge maybe you have to submit your work to WotC for review and/or endorsement. You’ll probably have to sign the license for a badge. You’re probably going to have to pay royalties in agreement to receive a badge. It’s like the bloody blue checkmark on Twitter.

I am eager to read the requirements for Creator Badges. I think it looks like a scam. I think it’s going to open creators up to having their work stolen. There definitely looks to be a lot of squabbles over badges. Seems like a lot of trouble.

It all comes back to the D&D GAME.

The one point that is frequently overlooked in all of the OGL drama is that we all love Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a Role Playing GAME. Legal crap aside, many of us love playing and creating homebrew content for the game. Yes, some creators want to actually sell their homebrew for all to enjoy.

But, can’t we just use DMsGuild.com ? You could, but… Do you really want to trust Wizards of the Coast with your work? Good old DMsGuild is covered by a different animal than the OGL The Community Content Agreement has different terms and conditions than the OGL. You can learn more about how their process works here. Please remember the Community Content Agreement is more readily subject to change.

We love the game. The OGL fracas is beginning to unravel the #ttrpgcommunity in strange and stressful ways. Some of us would very much like to get back to creating fun monsters to battle and magic items to find. Unfortunately, we can’t because we have all this quasi-legal sludge to muck about in.

Please Remember Third Party Creators.

I’ve heard of games being cancelled because of this OGL thing. Hey, keep playing D&D. The game itself isn’t a mess any more or less than it was before. We love D&D, just not the company in charge of its development. When it comes to enjoyment of the game, making characters, hanging with your crew, creating epic tales and rolling dice together- keep going!

I dare say that even the game designers at WotC deserve our respect and admiration. Their Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro and WotC bosses can go kick rocks for all I care. I would love to sit down for coffee with the bosses at WotC and have a nice, long chat. I promise I won’t even cuss in front of Cynthia Williams. They seem like nice people underneath it all.

BUT, please love and support THIRD PARTY CONTENT CREATORS. They’re what all this fuss boils down to. The OGL is the license that grants artists, writers, designers, and editors to do what they do best. The OGL allows third party creators to do what they love and be rewarded with a small amount of money in return. Please show them some love before handing money over to the big, slimy, nasty corporation that is WotC.

Even Paizo, Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Frog God Games, the DMsGuild content creators, Monte Cook Games, and others deserve some financial support right now. I love what so many individual authors on DMsGuild and DriveThruRPG are doing right now. With the OGL up in the air, many are wondering if they’re going to make rent in the coming months.

Thanks for stopping by. More on the OGL story and other D&D news as it develops. Please by kind to one another. I know a lot of us fans are getting pretty stressed. I see it in the content creators more every day. Take care of yourself so you can take care of loved ones.

I appreciate you. There is a #ttrpgfamily. We’re all a part of it together. Keep fighting the good fight.

#OpenDnD
#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#ORCLicense
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE.”

%d bloggers like this: